Jos Luhukay delivers damning verdict on his Sheffield Wednesday squad

Jos Luhukay says he does not have enough players that are capable of playing more than 25 league matches in a season.
Jos Luhukay says he does not have enough players that are capable of playing more than 25 league matches in a season.
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Manager Jos Luhukay has delivered a damning assessment on his Sheffield Wednesday squad, claiming he does "not have enough players" that are capable of playing more than 25 league matches in a season.

Luhukay made the alarming admission on the eve of their vital South Yorkshire derby with fellow strugglers Rotherham United this weekend.

Injuries have significantly hampered Wednesday's progress in recent years. As revealed in Friday's Star, the Owls will be without the services of Fernando Forestieri for the next six to eight weeks after the talented forward tore his hamstring late on after coming on as a substitute in the away defeat to Blackburn Rovers.

Midfielder Barry Bannan (leg) is also an injury concern as Wednesday chase a fifth league win in their last six meetings with the Millers.

Luhukay refuses to blame the Owls' medical department for the club's injury woes, saying: "I think the medical team and sports scientist team try to give 100 per cent. They work very intensively with our players but we have players who have problems on the physical side to play a lot of games at a high intensity.

Sheffield Wednesday wait on Barry Bannan

"Give me five players who played more than 25 games last season.

"It is a problem that I must try to handle with my staff and my medical team. It is the reality that we don't have enough players who can play more than 25 games in the Championship.

"It is a big problem. We play 46 games in the Championship."

Only Adam Reach (45), Tom Lees, Barry Bannan, the now departed Jack Hunt (all 28) and Morgan Fox (26) started over 25 league matches last term as the Owls finished in a disappointing 15th position. Luhukay says Reach was the only outfield player to complete 90 minutes on more than 25 occasions.

But a passionate Luhukay, who is under increasing pressure to turnaround the club's dismal run of form, was keen to stress at his pre-match press conference that Wednesday's squad is now better equipped to cope with the rigours of the second-tier.

"We have a better physical situation than last season but the results have not been good enough," said Luhukay. "We have seven to eight players play more than 15 games from the last 20 games.

"From the physical side and the intensity to play in the Championship, we make steps. The team is in a better physical shape."

Only Forestieri, Kieran Lee, Sam Winnall and Gary Hooper are currently sidelined by injury.

He said: "We don't have many injured players. Only four from last season and now Fernando Forestieri. The rest of the players are fit.

"Look from the first game to now in the statistics. We have now six, seven or eight players who can play more than 10 games in the 20 matches we have played.

"We now have players who can play more games in the Championship. Maybe at the end of the season you can see the balance and that hopefully more than half the players can play more than 25 games from 46 in the Championship.

"The more players that can play more games, the more stability and consistency that you have in results."

Fernando Forestieri faces another spell on the sidelines